It’s Christmas, and two friends are planning to give Lucy a send-off as she returns to Hong Kong; another friend barges in – even though this is filmed on Zoom, it is meant to be in one place, a room where friends watch festive TV together.
This neurodiversity-led piece is presented by Jack’s Lantern. The friends wear their Christmas jumpers and have a chat about times past. What Are We Watching? is a rehearsed reading extract but is full of potential and has a strong script with a twist of intrigue. The stories and memories the friends swap, the insights into each through a combination of conversations, feel unforced and natural.
It has a definite feel of swapping ghost stories around the fire, as well as a feel of keeping up with the Joneses. These four friends (Nick, played by Alan Cammish; Dan, played by Connor Lee Dye; Michelle, played by Bel Odawa; and Lucy, played by Adrianna Liu) are eventually joined by a mysterious visitor, played by Mark Gillott, which gives the piece a new dynamic – not fully explored, but I’m sure it will be as the piece develops.
Jack’s Lantern are a writing partnership between Joleen White and Peter Aldred. On this evidence, they are very good at characterisations and of making group situations believable; they also have the potential to glance wryly at more serious topics while keeping the tone light.
I feel What We Are Watching? has plenty of potential to become a strong, full production – there is already plenty of unfinished plotlines in the rehearsed reading to get an audience interested in where the story goes next.
Fringe rating: *** (and a half)
You can stream What Are We Watching? on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s Fringe Player until the end of August: book your tickets here. To find out more about Jack’s Lantern, visit their website. The company is seeking additional funding to turn What Are We Watching? into a full film or theatre productions: donate here.